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Hinsdale Central used a 10-0 first quarter run to take a lead it would not relinquish, despite a late Oak Park-River Forest rally the West Suburban Silver foes battled Saturday night.
The Red Devils knocked down 17-of-25 from the free throw line in the final period and earned a 53-45 victory in Oak Park.
The victory leaves Hinsdale Central (13-5, 7-1) alone at the top of the conference standings.
“It always feels good to be on top,” explained Hinsdale’s Chase Hamilton, who finished with 11 points. “But now you have a target on your back, so you have to play even harder than you did to get on top. I think we can do it, I think we can finish it out.”
Oak Park-River Forest (14-6, 6-2) hit four three-pointers in the closing minutes of the game, but could not trim the lead closer than 39-33 with just less than four minutes remaining.
Brian Owens led Hinsdale with 18 points, including eight free throws down the stretch. Sophomore center Matt Rafferty added a three-pointer and finished with 10 points.
The Huskies rallied in the third quarter after trailing 21-14 at the intermission.
Junior guard Erick Locke led the charge, scoring 10 points in the third period, while also draining three buckets from long distance in the final stanza. He led all scorers with 26 points.
“You have to tip your cap to Hinsdale, they slowed it up, they got lengthy possessions,” said OPRF coach Matt Maloney. “They made us take shots out of the flow, so you have to give them credit.”